In just a few weeks, the next phase of major construction at the Missoula Montana Airport will get underway.

But this time, construction of the new East Concourse won't bring the kind of major disruption the airport saw during the new main terminal construction over a two-year period.

The airport opened the new South Concourse last May, culminating a multi-year effort to upgrade the airport with more capacity, more security, and features that brought Missoula air travel into the modern age. 

Now, attention is focused on replacing the old terminal to the east, which has now been demolished. Airport Director Brian Ellestad says construction of the new facility, known as Phase 2, will start this spring.

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"So the old terminal, looking out my window it is pretty much completely gone. So they'll start the foundation, the basement foundation, here in the spring or late winter. It's a $42 million project. We've got an $11 million grant from the federal government and then the rest will be utilizing a loan from First Security Bank," Ellestad explains. 

The airport's contractors have different options than during the South Concourse construction, with the airport's primary operations having moved over to the new building. The main features in the new space include rental car counters and additional gates. Expanded baggage claim is currently in the new terminal, and can be brought to the new space in phases.

"Right now the plan is to open up the first front half of the new Phase Two in the summer of '24, and then the back half would be opening up in the summer of '25. So kind of a phased approach," Ellestad says.

Ellestad expects the vertical construction on the new East Concourse will begin as soon as the weather allows. 

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